Neither Tim nor I have bought a bike in at least a decade, but we still wanted to do a story about shopping for a new cycle, since this is the Bikes Issue. And since we don’t really know anything about this, we decided to ask for help from some of the pros.
That’s how we ended up at Goodale’s Bike Shop.
Goodale’s sells everything that has to do with bikes. There are road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, BMXs, fitness bikes, trikes, racing bikes, electric bikes and more. There’s also a plethora of accessories such as clothing, tires, pumps, computers and lights.
Sounds a little overwhelming, huh?
“First you need to narrow down what kind of riding you’re going to do,” store manager Brad Hill Jr. said.
For instance, there’s no point in a beginner (with deep pockets, mind you) walking into the store and just buying the most expensive bike they have, assuming it must be the best. In all likelihood, you won’t even be able to notice or appreciate the subtle differences that make a top-of-the-line bike cost $10,000 if you’re just starting out. It would mostly be a waste, Hill said.
“You want one that’s good for what you want to do,” he said.
A lot of people come in looking for a fast bike and they assume they need a race bike. Unless you’re absolutely going to be involved with lots of competitive races, this isn’t always the best idea, we learned.
“A lot of times, people go to a race bike when they really need an endurance,” Hill said. “If you’re not competitive, endurance is the way to go.”
Endurance bikes are similar to racing bikes in appearance, but endurance bikes sit the rider more upright, creating a more comfortable position than the hunched-over configuration of racing bikes.
When it comes to mountain bikes, “most people should be on a trail or all-mountain,” Hill said. The store carries a wide variety of mountain bikes, with options like shocks, full suspension and no suspension, depending on the type of riding you’re looking to try.
There are also some BMX bikes, which are meant for performing stunts and jumps with. These bikes tend to be smaller and heavier than road bikes, with thick frames that can withstand jumps and crashes. You may have had one as a kid, but these aren’t just for kids anymore. Just know that this may be the least comfortable bike to try to commute with – BMXs sit lower to the ground and they typically don’t have any suspension or gears.
Ultimately, your plans should play the biggest role in your bike-buying decision, Hill said. If you’re buying something to ride to work every day, look for something that will be comfortable enough to make that commute every day and that won’t break your back climbing that big hill. If you’re looking to win statewide races, you’ll want to spring for one of the most serious racing bikes. If you just want to have fun, find something that’s fun for you.
Once you’ve chosen the bike that’s right for you, you might want some accessories, too. Hill said one of the big trends in the cycling world right now is lighting, particularly daytime running lights for bikes.
“They can increase your visibility by up to 30 percent,” Hill said of the daytime running lights, which the store sells plenty of. There are also bike computers that track things like speed and distance, as well as racing clothing, helmets, locks and anything else you can imagine needing or wanting to add to your biking experience.
So now that the weather is warm, get to a bike shop and get what you need.